America's Cup Lite?


 
From San Francisco Peter Rusch says the general feeling is surprise about how good the racing is at the Moët Cup
It seemed too easy in the days leading up to Moët Cup to draw the immediate conclusion that the on-the-water action would be like the ‘Bud Lite’ beer that is so ubiquitous in America - watered down, weak, and not wholly satisfying. That impression certainly wasn’t quashed in the days leading up to the event when Alinghi announced that Cup legend Russell Coutts wouldn’t sail. And it certainly didn’t help at the opening press conference on Sunday evening when his replacement, Alinghi skipper Jochen Schuemann, let slip that, “the Alinghi team is resting now, the team is not sailing at all, and we have no sports programme for the Alinghi team…We met here on the first of September, and have one boat here…We’ve not prepared for this event to win it." Oops. But much of the action on the first day made one think that perhaps Schuemann was exaggerating, and the close racing on display reminded everyone that although they may not have trained a lot for this event, Alinghi is still a pretty sharp sailing team, and Oracle BMW has continued to move forward. In fact, it was actually pretty exciting racing, and in many ways lived up to the promise made by the organisers to the point that sailors, media and race fans alike were gushing through the post-race press conference, congratulating one another for the racing. The Moët Cup offers lots of short course racing, and the spectacle of two giant America’s Cup Class boats short tacking up the San Francisco Bay shoreline, just metres off the parking lot of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, has to be seen to be believed. Two separate series, with 12 races in total are to be completed in six days. There is the Pro-Driver series, with Alinghi skipper Jochen Schuemann and Oracle BMW skipper

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